MBS executive chef Christopher Christie dies at 55

Canadian chef Christopher Christie, who led a 400-strong culinary team at Marina Bay Sands, was honoured by many in the food and beverage industry who posted tributes on social media. MBS will hold a public memorial service on Thursday, from 3pm to 4
Canadian chef Christopher Christie, who led a 400-strong culinary team at Marina Bay Sands, was honoured by many in the food and beverage industry who posted tributes on social media. MBS will hold a public memorial service on Thursday, from 3pm to 4pm, at its MasterCard Theatres.FILE PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Canadian chef Christopher Christie, who was the opening executive chef of integrated resort Marina Bay Sands (MBS), died on Friday. He was 55.

The cause of death is not known but The Sunday Times understands that he was ill.

Mr Christie was widely recognised as the culinary driving force who led a 400-strong culinary team at MBS. He was also responsible for running 48 individual kitchens which turn out 20,000 meals a day, creating menus, training new chefs and overseeing the food supply chain for the property.

Many in the food and beverage industry posted tributes on social media over the weekend, honouring Mr Christie as an inspirational father figure, as well as a kind and humble chef.

Chef Stephane Istel, of Bar-Roque Grill in Tanjong Pagar, regards Mr Christie as his mentor since he first came to Singapore to work at DB Bistro Moderne in MBS.

Mr Istel, 39, said: "When I told him that I wanted to open my own restaurant, he discussed the concept with me, and was the one who named it.

CULINARY DRIVING FORCE

He was like a general who could lead any army to victory - an overall wonderful human being who personifies what a chef should be.

MR PETER KNIPP, World Gourmet Summit organiser, on Mr Christopher Christie.

"Over the years, we remained very close, and he would come often to eat at my restaurant."

Before joining MBS, Mr Christie was based in Hong Kong, where he was the group director of food and beverage for Langham Hotels International.

With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, Mr Christie was also executive chef of several luxury business hotels, such as Langham Hotel Hong Kong, The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta, The Portman Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai, and The Westin Philippine Plaza in Manila.

His contributions have also been recognised, as he was named executive chef of the year for the second time at the World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence earlier this year. He first achieved the accolade in 2014.

Mr Peter Knipp, 62, organiser of the World Gourmet Summit which puts out the awards, said: "On the opening night of MBS, there were 3,000 people to serve but the food was perfect. Chef Christie was not just able to serve a room for fine dining, he had an ability to translate it into high volume.

"He was like a general who could lead any army to victory - an overall wonderful human being who personifies what a chef should be."

MBS president and chief executive George Tanasijevich said: "Chef (Christie) had a very special way of connecting with people from all walks of life. His warmth and passion touched many who have crossed his path.

"He left a legacy behind that we will continue to cherish and honour, emulating his spirit of giving his best for everything, and his immense love for life."

In honour of Mr Christie, MBS will hold a memorial service on Thursday, from 3pm to 4pm, at its MasterCard Theatres. It is open to the public.

In February 2011, famed Spanish chef Santi Santamaria died after collapsing in the kitchen of his restaurant at MBS. The Michelin-starred chef, who was 53, had been hosting a media tasting that was part of MBS' official opening celebrations when he suddenly fainted.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 02, 2017, with the headline 'MBS executive chef Christopher Christie dies at 55'. Print Edition | Subscribe